Tuesday, June 12, 2012
What Wild Means
That's Momma jumping off the shed steps the first time I spotted her, back in March, before we even knew there were already kittens in the shed that she was tending. As time went on we got somewhat more friendly, to the extent that she was coming up to the side porch and looking me in the eye, which I took to mean she was hungry and wanted some food, which I'd then fix and give her. She didn't mind if I stood at the door and watched her eat. She didn't like loud noises or quick movements, but she pretty much trusted me and Libby. It was her trust that we betrayed when we caught her last week, no matter if it was for the best of reasons. The reasons are beyond her.
After a night in the shed, it looks like Momma has left the building. I haven't seen her at all after the first day back out, when I am sure she did eat the food I put out. Now, I'm not at all sure if she's the one having the meals. Today I thought I'd wait till I see her to put more food out. It'd be really great if she were to walk a few steps up this way, looking at the door. That was the way it went first time round, when she was hoping (it seemed to us) that maybe we'd help her out a bit with her rambunctious, wiggly brood. She made the eye contact.
So I think it's up to her again. But it's a hard call, and possibly a forlorn hope. She's a smart cat. She's made it through a winter or two, and knows how to hunt, and how to keep an eye out for dogs and raccoons, snakes and other cats. She's learned to be very wary, and we've put ourselves over on the wary side now.
I have to hope I don't see her out by the road some day. Cats and cars just don't mix well. I wish she really could understand just what a cat paradise we actually have here, far from the road. But what she knows is we trapped her, hauled her off to hell and back, kept her in a little kennel for a day. And then she escaped. Perhaps we were foolish enough to leave the door ajar. Why should she come back to find out.
It's a good question.
Update: Less than an hour after I wrote the above, I looked out the window into the gathering twilight and saw Momma reclining on those shed steps you see her jumping off of in the photograph. She saw me and started walking up the path. I opened a can of food, put it in a bowl, and placed that out on the edge of the kitchen stoop, where she liked to eat before the alien abduction took place. She trotted up to the stoop while I retreated entirely inside and to the back of the kitchen. She was wary, but knew I was there. After a couple of minutes she decided to have dinner. I kept my distance, leaving the kitchen entirely for the TV and the kittens back in the back of the house. She finished her meal and has departed--her next round, the shed, perhaps a nice after-dinner cigar on a limb safely off the ground, where she can keep and eye on things while enjoying that thing all cats enjoy most of all--napping? I can't say.
This is what wild means. Looks like I'll get to continue my most enjoyable tangential relationship with it, complements of Momma. The next big adventure may be that moment when the kittens must venture outside. It's coming, as it must. But before then they have their own little medical appointments. So far they're not marking their territories and we'd like to keep it that way. The big kitten problem of the moment is that they are nursing each other to sleep. It might be edging towards the pervy side, if kittens weren't so innocent. As it is, it's just tender and endearing. We separate them if it seems to be getting out of hand. They don't mind that either. They all purr when picked up, and they all like to climb into our laps at once. That too is endearing. The soft summer drifts down like feathers, one day at a time. Solstice is next week sometime. Venus has just transited.